Winter’s chill is biting, penetrating to their core in a way that feels personal. A dry twist in their bones that makes them forget any memory of heat, and makes them wonder if ever in their life had they been so cold. Frost clings to the edges of windows, like spider webs hanging from rafters in a long forgotten attic, framing the world that lies behind those ice edged panes of glass; the people and their conversations look stuck in time, frozen in the cold; an old black and white photo, color drained by the blanketed frigidness. Their lonely faces are strict lines, horizontal things betraying nothing in their solidarity. Shoulders hunched, arms tucked and face downward toward their steaming cup of whatever. Alone. Greedily seeking warmth. All the world is cast in the bluish hue of a cold winter’s light. A pale color, or perhaps the absence of color; like staring into the endless void of a deep, dark ocean.
Then the town is lit up: buildings framed in the golden glow of Christmas cheer. Lights strung up on the edges and contours of the town, saving the streets from the pale dull light of winter. The building’s presence is inviting and intoxicating, for it is not frost that blurs the windows, but warmth. And behind the clouded glass houses are any number of people; that raise their mugs of hot chocolate and hot spirits to commemorate camaraderie. All around, their demeanor matches the warmth of their drinks. Their cheeks are flushed, whether because of the returning heat or their raucous laughter, one can’t know. And they smile: rich, warm things that stave off any gnawing wind or dead winter’s chill.
They live in the warmth of companionship for a time. Between the reality of how they got here and how they’ll get home. For a time, the cold does not exist, it is in another place. A memory so distant it’s been forgotten: catalogued in the annals of their brain as something they needn’t worry about. Because now they have warmth. They have each other. Gone are the colorless faces of thinning horizontal lines devoid of good cheer.
When the time comes to brave the cold, it is done in stride. The door is opened and those who had been nestled in comfortable heat step out into the cold embrace of winter. There is not to fear. The town is cast in the glow of Christmas cheer. Golden white lights battle with the black and blue of winter like two cosmic forces waging a war of good and evil. The shadows are beaten and with it begets the promise of a light in the dark: a beacon that stands triumphantly in the night, guiding them through the blackened murk so that they may find the warmth.
In the great vast coldness of winter, the promise of comfort comes from unlikely places. It’s not from an afternoon sun, a blazing radiator or a roaring fire. It’s not a jacket, scarf, hot chocolate, down blankets or hand-knit hats and gloves.
Winter’s warmth is from one another.